What is an ISBN number?
It’s a 13 digits code that identifies a specific version of a book (for example you might need ISBN numbers to order textbooks at a bookstore)
First off it is required to publish by most companies (Create Space, Amazon, Smashwords, IngramSpark etc…). Second it provides an easy way to find and identify your book. It makes it easy for bookstores, libraries, and readers to order.
Some agencies provide ISBN numbers for free (all the ones above except IngramSpark). The only restriction that comes with a free ISBN number is often that your company cannot be listed as the publisher (Create Space or Smashwords will be indicated as the publisher). This might make the book less appealing to professionals (librarians and book stores).
Where do I buy my ISBN number?
ISBN numbers are provided by Bowker
When do I (personally, as in me, Gaia B Amman) use free ISBN numbers?
I used free ISBN numbers forAmazon Kindle books, but I used my own ISBN numbers for the paperbacks (ideally you need to use different ISBN numbers for each printer, but I used the same number for Create Space and IngramSpark since the versions are identical) and then I used a separate ISBN for the Smashwords e-book.
Do I need to buy barcodes?
NO! Don't pay for barcodes! Barcodes are what goes on the back of your book. They can be scanned in stores and bring up the ISBN number and price of the item. Never pay for a barcode since you can get them for free, for example here
Yes, you should. You paid so much money to buy them; you should take full advantage of them! Once you sign in to your Bowker account, go to My account/my identifiers/manage my ISBNs
There is a lot of information that can be added. Here is what I fill in (some fields are mandatory -red stars- some are not. I used “An Italian Adventure” as an example since I used its cover above):
-Under title & cover: Subtitle, main description, pub date, language copyright year, cover picture, internal PDF
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Who am I to give you advice?
I am your nerdy writer best friend and the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS): an irreverent indie series taking place in Italy and speaking of love, pain, and happiness with a healthy dose of humor <3